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Young and old, everyone feels cold from time to time. Usually it is just our body's way of telling us to cover up and it is nothing to be alarmed about. However, a child who persistently feels cold in environments where others are not could be suffering from a few different conditions. If your child is complaining of feeling cold over a prolonged period of time with no discernible reason, you should contact her doctor.
Anemia effects many children, with iron-deficiency anemia being the most common type. Anemia is a disorder in which the body is not producing enough red blood cells. Feeling cold and being particularly sensitive to cold are both symptoms of anemia. Other symptoms include paleness, exhaustion and loss of appetite. It is important for anemia to be addressed by a doctor as it can affect the productivity of your child's immune system. Anemia is usually quite easy to treat with supplements or diet changes.
Hypothyroidism is a serious condition if left untreated. This disease causes the thyroid to under-produce hormones that aide the metabolism. Cold extremities is one symptom, along with stunted growth and a delay in tooth growth. Standard newborn screenings include a test for hypothyroidism, so if this condition is present at birth, it will be detected right away. It is important to treat hypothyroidism as soon as possible since it can lead to permanently stunted growth. Treatment usually involves a medication that replaces the missing hormones.
Addison's disease is caused by damage to the adrenal gland. This damage, which can be caused by infections and cancer among other things, results in the gland not producing enough of the hormones cortisol and aldolsterone. These vital hormones are involved in everything from the functioning of the immune system to the way the body processes food. Without these hormones, children are more susceptible to disease and infection, and often suffer from low blood sugar. Symptoms of Addison's disease include intolerance and sensitivity to cold, dizziness, nausea and weight loss. Addison's disease is treated with medications that increase the deficient hormone levels. People with Addison's may have to take these medications throughout their lives.
Low Blood Pressure
While low blood pressure on its own is not life threatening, it still needs to be addressed by a doctor to rule out any underlying cause 2. However, some people, children included, simply have low blood pressure and may deal with its symptoms throughout their lives 2. These symptoms include feeling cold, dizziness and thirst. Very low blood pressure can cause your child to faint, if he has chronic low blood pressure, he will need close supervision 2.
Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory processing disorder, or SPD, is a neurological disorder that affects the way children experience the world using their senses. Children with SPD tend to experience the senses in extremes--either too little or too much. For instance, if your child has SPD, she may be highly sensitive to touch and extremely bothered by tags on clothing that rub against her skin. Children with SPD can also be very sensitive to temperature and feel cold or hot frequently. Though SPD can't be cured, there are behavioral techniques that can be used to ease the symptoms.
- cold in the park image by Alex Motrenko from Fotolia.com